Federalist No. 11

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I know commerce is a dirty word among some people, but it was all-important to the Framers. Without commerce, the new nation could not survive, and this meant not only securing commercial oppportunity for the nation, but also controlling those opportunities as much as possible, and protecting them from other nations who rightfully saw those emerging commercial interests as a threat to their own.

Hamilton writes: "the importance of the Union, in a commercial light, is one of those points about which there is least room to entertain a difference of opinion, and which has, in fact, commanded the most general assent of men who have any acquaintance with the subject."

A modern translation familiar to Slashdot readers would be thus: "there's no room for disagreement on the importance of the Union in commerce. Anyone who knows what they are talking about agrees with what I am saying."

The next time you see someone use this poorly regarded rhetorical style, note to yourself that they are, at least, in favorable company.

Regardless, Hamilton was correct, pretty much everyone agreed on the point. Union provides the opportunity to pool their resources for the sake of more effective commerce, such that they all would be more likely to be able to flourish on their own, without the aid of the Europeans.

The most clear benefit would be a mutual trade agreement with the British. Commerce means power. The British want our money and goods, so they have a relationship with us, which gives us standing.

Another tool for so influencing European conduct toward America is having a navy. A navy would give us standing in conflicts arising between other nations along shipping routes, turning the tide to one side or the other, and such leverage gives us more commercial opportunity. Hamilton wisely notes, "a price would be set not only upon our friendship, but out neutrality." And without such adequate power as a navy would provide, "a nation, despicable by its weakeness, forfetis even the privilege of being neutral."

Hamilton closes with a screed against European egotism, noting "the superiority she has long maintained has tempted her to plume herself as the Mistress of the World, and to consider the rest of mankind as created for her benefit. ... It belongs to us to vindicate the honor of the human race, and to teach that assuming brother, moderation. Union will enable us to do it. Disunion will will add another victim to his triumphs. Let Americans disdain to be the instruments of European greatness!"

Another modern translation for the Slashdot reader: "The Nazis wanted disunion, too."

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